NASA Sees Deadly Cyclone Phailin Make Landfall In Eastern India
October 19, 2013

NASA Sees Deadly Cyclone Phailin Make Landfall In Eastern India


The second tropical cyclone of the Northern Indian Ocean season formed on Oct. 9 and grew into powerful Typhoon Phailin that made landfall in eastern India. NASA's Aqua and NASA/NOAA's Suomi-NPP satellites captured imagery of the storm on its approach to land.

On Oct. 9, Tropical Depression 02B formed from low pressure System 90W about 537 nautical miles south of Chittagong, Bangladesh, near 13.4 North and 92.8 East. TD02B quickly strengthened into a tropical storm and was named Phailin. Phailin moved to the west-northwest at 7 knots after forming. Tropical Storm Phailian had maximum sustained winds near 40 knots/46.0 mph/74.0 kph shortly after its birth.

On Oct. 10 at 0720 UTC/3:20 a.m. EDT, the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite captured a visible image of Typhoon Phailin in the Bay of Bengal as it headed for landfall in west-central India. On Oct. 11, Phailin reached peak speed with maximum sustained winds near 152 knots/175 mph/281.6 kph.

It was on Oct. 11 when NASA/NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed almost directly over Typhoon Phailin. At that time, the VIIRS instrument aboard captured a high-resolution infrared image of the storm, clearly showing the storm's eye. Because Suomi-NPP is a polar-orbiting satellite, VIIRS could only view Phailin twice a day. But, VIIRS produced infrared imagery at 375 meter resolution. For additional information on Phailin using Suomi-NPP imagery, visit:

On Oct. 12 during the morning (Eastern Daylight Time/U.S.) Phailin was the strength of a Category 4 hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center noted that Phailin had maximum sustained winds near 150 mph/241.4 kph.

On Oct. 12, Phailin's center was approaching the coast of the state of Odisha, and made landfall between Brahmapur to the north, and Visakhapatnam to the south. The storm came ashore with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph/250 kph. A strong storm surge brought seawater into farms and fields, and caused coastal flooding and structural damage, according to Reuters news.  A mass evacuation in Odisha and the adjacent Andhra Pradesh saved many lives from Phailin's wrath. The U.K. Daily Mail indicated that Phailin took 17 lives.


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